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What to do about a 6 yr old that acts out

OK for any of the moms out there that have had this issue. My 6 yr old daughter has been an absolute handful lately and my husband and I are at our wits end. She is extremely smart and very active. We tell her to do things and she either talks back or just looks at us and acts like we didn't even say anything. She has a smart mouth for ANYTHING we say to her or ask her to do. She cries at the drop of a hat and has started sleepwalking(which I also did so it doesn't worry me AS much). Our discipline techniques are like most other parents, time outs and toys/favorite activities are taken away. She also talks like a 3 yr old a lot of the time and makes noises(baby, animal, otherwise). We are really worried and I appreciate any advice. Thanks ~ashley

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Asked by ashott at 8:03 PM on Apr. 5, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (5)
  • Difficult behavior and sleep walking are both signs that she is not getting enough sleep. Things like sleepwalking (talking in sleep etc.) are all worse when the person is overtired. This can cause difficult behavior as well. She may suddenly need more sleep due to a growth spurt or something. I recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Weissbluth, MD. He goes into both of these issues in detail in his book. He talks a lot about the "sleep behavior connection"
    I also recommend you look into the 1-2-3 Magic parenting program. Not a bunch of theory but specific techniques to put in place the focus is on "Control Obnoxious Behavior. Learn a simple technique to get your kids to STOP doing what you don't want them to do (whining, arguing, tantrums, sibling rivalry, etc.)."
    You can get the book and/or dvd at amazon or most places. They have a website at

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 8:37 PM on Apr. 5, 2009

  • I do think there's gotta be a link between the sleepwalking and the behavior - the above poster is probably right that your daughter isn't getting enough sleep - our 6 yr old goes to bed at 730 - he used to go at 8 but his teacher said he seemed tired sometimes. He also gets up as SOON as the sun rises and there's nothing we can do about that, so we had to get more time on the other end... Our 6 yr old has also just discovered giving "attitude"... recently when he has to do something he doesn't want to he rolls his eyes, pouts, stomps, etc... this is all new. I'm not sure where it came from but we've explained that that behavior will only make the situation worse for him, and we follow through on it...we sat him down and explained what behavior is unacceptable and so now when he does it he loses a if he's mad about having to stop playing video games and he acts out, he loses the priveledge for the next day...

    Answer by stepmom929 at 9:20 PM on Apr. 5, 2009

  • continued.... I would decide what behavior is unacceptable - sit her down and explain it to her and then when tha tbehavior happens there is a cnnsequence - everytime no matter what. I find this is a tough time for parenting - 6 year olds are hard! The most important thing is CONSISTANCY. I've read a bunch of parenting books and that is what they all say.

    Answer by stepmom929 at 9:24 PM on Apr. 5, 2009

  • Mama you need to take charge of this one.. She will test you till she is snikn out of the house evernight.. Trust me, my boy does the same stuff, i bust him though, I have my bluff in to.. If taken everything away and timeout arnt doing it, you know what you ahve to do.. Give her a good bustn, she will straightn up... Its going to hurt her feelings but you have to do this or she will run over ya..

    Answer by HottMamaRossx2 at 1:17 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • Thanks for the input I will try some of that...

    Answer by ashott at 4:07 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

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